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Quantum sensing the brain

Hands-on at the exhibit

  • Go into the ‘brain room’ to see and hear live signals from a human brain
  • Play games that are controlled by brain activity
  • Explore a brain model and quantum box, to see how brain waves are detected

Find out more

Quantum sensing is providing cutting-edge insights into mental health. 

A new quantum brain scanner can measure our ‘brain waves’ with unprecedented accuracy. At this exhibit you will find out how quantum brain sensing works, and what it could mean for the treatment of mental health conditions. 

Conventional imaging can measure brain activity during different tasks. This tells us how the brain works to control our body and enable us to think. However, these large scanners require the subject to remain still – making it unsuitable for young children and anyone who is claustrophobic or anxious. Using cutting-edge quantum sensors, a collaborative team at the University of Nottingham and University College London has developed a new ‘helmet’ brain scanner that can be worn as the subject moves around. It detects the tiny electromagnetic fields produced by active parts of the brain and is around four times more sensitive than conventional machines. It’s hoped the new scanner can reveal how brain networks are changed in mental health conditions, and how they can be re-sculpted by therapy.

Find out more about multichannel magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings and building a full-head MEG system on these blogs. You can also find out about interdisciplinary research conducted by the Institute of Mental Health.

Presented by the University of Nottingham and University College London.